Round 14 presented a turning point for our squad in many ways. Coming off an embarrassing effort (or non-effort) the week before, we started the week training out at the excellent facilitates of Hectorville Football Club.
A great chance to give ourselves a change our scenery a little, but much more importantly an important reminder that local level execution and effort meant we had to earn the right to train and play at Coopers Stadium again. Being the final game of the season in which all 83 players were available for selection, barring injury, the competition for spots was hot and open to all willing to give their best efforts towards our shared goals. With our country players performing well during the week (going undefeated in the Country U17s competition) we had plenty of country talent keen to show their wares against our metro base.
From this mixing pot, we found ourselves a team, that while not full strength from a talent point of view, was full strength in character – a key focus area after the previous week. Our first test came before the game, with a late illness meaning an emergency came into the game last-minute – of which Josh Dobie did well to adjust and perform admirably off less than usual preparation.
The first term saw us jump to the lead with some early dominance at the centre bounce contests – driving the ball into the forward 50 – however shots from long range and poor angles kept us to a less desirable lead than we hoped for with the prominent breeze. The second term saw us stand tough under some pressing from the opposition with a strong scoring breeze – however, we were able to restrict their scoring, before rebounding quickly with fast-flowing use of handball chains and lateral options – to open the opposition up – still outscoring them against the breeze.
Coming out from the main break the boys were resolute in their goal to really put the game away while we had the advantage. From a gameplay point of view, we were able to control most of the term, peppering the goal front with 18 inside 50s in that term alone, however, not for a EUROs inspired mid-air soccer with seconds left by Zac Bishop – would have only ended the term with two goals – an average outcome for the dominant control of play. While there were drops in focus in the fourth, common with the lead and fatigue, the most pleasing part of the entire performance came to the forefront. The team dynamic shift from last week to what we saw at Woodville was outstanding – with the many contributing on the field, but so too in their support of each other as a group. With our quieter players leading team chats, with our role players leading the way and all three lines hitting metrics they aimed for collectively – this team performance was and will be the biggest determining factor for our success going forward.
While this inevitable lockdown has interrupted our work, the boys are shifting upward towards the brand and character we expect from ourselves as a group. Our next scheduled matches are two back-to-back home matches against the ladder leader Glenelg – whenever this challenge presents itself – we can take great confidence that our group’s character, care, and effort is ready to stand up to the challenge no matter the ladder position.
NORWOOD: 3.2 5.3 8.7 10.10 (70)
EAGLES: 1.3 2.7 3.8 4.13 (37)
GOALS: Kemp 3, Bishop 2, Charlton 2, Jones-Bobridge 2, Boxer,
BEST PLAYERS: Taj Rahui, Louis Joseph, Ben Belperio, Jayden Gale, Peter Minervini, Corey Jones.
TEAM FIRST BEST: Will Bowman, Damon Pitt, Riley Verrall, Wyatt Pisani, Charlie Kemp, Zac Bishop.